VVS Laxman's 281 at Eden Gardens one of the best innings in Test history: Jason Gillespie

VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2001
VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2001

Former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie has hailed VVS Laxman's epic 281-run knock at Eden Gardens in 2001, calling it 'one of the best innings in Test history'.

It's been exactly 20 years since one of the most glorious days in Indian cricket folklore.

On March 14, 2001 VVS Laxman combined with Rahul Dravid (180) to put on a herculean 376-run partnership after being asked to follow on by the Aussies on a turning Day 4 track.

Reliving the memories of VVS Laxman's masterclass, which lasted 10.5 hours, Gillespie said that the Aussies were waiting for the former to make a mistake.

However, they eventually ran out of ideas as the counterattacking VVS Laxman did not put a foot wrong. Speaking candidly to Sportstar, Gillespie said:

"The talk was basically that they were playing well, however, it only takes one ball or one poor shot and we can get a wicket. Unfortunately, the poor shot didnโ€™t eventuate! I did try to distract VVS by flapping my arms like a bird as I was running in to bowl to put him off! It was one of the best innings in Test history. A superb knock."

After getting bowled out for just 171 in their first innings and trailing by 274 runs after being asked to follow on, India were staring at the depths of defeat at 232/4.

That's when the duo joined hands to thwart Shane Warne and co. for the next 100 odd overs. Thanks to Laxman and Dravid's combined efforts, India set the Aussies 384 runs to get on the last day in Kolkata.

That was when Harbhajan Singh (6/73) spun webs around the visiting batsmen as India secured a famous 171-run victory after being in a hopeless situation for most of the match.

Was sick and tired of bowling to VVS Laxman: Jason Gillespie

VVS Laxman's innings consisted of 44 silky boundaries and came against Steve Waugh's all-conquering side.

That Australian team was on a 16-match winning streak and comprised a high-quality bowling attack of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Michael Kasprowicz and Gillespie himself.

Gillespie, who finished his 71-Test career with 259 wickets, said he was tired of having to bowl to Laxman during the many wonderful knocks he played against Australia.

โ€œI remember my first trip to India with the Australian Under-19 side and V. V. S. was hitting hundred after hundred back then too. I was well and truly sick of bowling to him by the end of my career," said Jason Gillespie.

'Very, very special' Laxman loved playing against Australia and was a consistent thorn in their side. In 29 matches against the Kangaroos, Laxman scored 2434 runs at an average of 49.67 with six centuries and 12 fifties.

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Edited by Arjun Panchadar
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